The Telecom Prospectors Stake Out Brazil

Telebras' privatization will make the society more productive

It's a telecom gold rush. Global heavy hitters from Sprint to France Telecom and Spain's Telefonica are lining up as prospective bidders for Brazilian phone giant Telebras. In Latin America's biggest-ever privatization, it will go on the block in 12 parts in an auction scheduled for July 29. Winners are expected to pay well over the $11.6 billion minimum price and spend billions more to expand Brazil's market from today's 17 million phone lines to 40 million in five years. And a second phalanx of major investors--suppliers of telecom equipment and services from transmitters to software--is also piling into Brazil.

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